Over the past 19 years, Gravitate has worked with many lawyers and firms but we haven’t seen much of a shift in the way lawyers tend to present themselves or their firms online. Perhaps this is because of the Canons of Professional Ethics published by the American Bar Association or because lawyers, in general, are risk averse.
For every new technology advance, it needs to be tested and proven before lawyers can implement it to maintain some level of guarantee.
Now it’s time for a change and increases the presence of your firm’s brand online. This doesn’t mean to take down your attorney’s profiles or areas of focus. It means making your brand stand out online by creating an impact and a personal connection with your audience.
Why a firm’s brand is value for success
We’ve written about branding before; branding for a business is more than a logo. It is the how you business feels, looks, and stands out. It is a long-term strategy that is accomplished by a series of baby steps and small improvements.
We wrote about branding again for credit unions and worked with these firms to redesign the standards of online marketing for credit unions and they way credit unions are presented online. (See Solarity Credit Union and WSECU).
Your brand has great value, including monetary value. While this may not be easy to put a financial value on brand or even understand what “value” is relating to the brand, the importance can be found in how the firm’s client base views the firm. Value can be derived from the fact that clients create a personal connection with the firm before even contacting while they are researching firms and deciding which firm to use.
Potential clients take in a large number of variables when deciding which firm to choose and this is where the true value of a brand lies, in the persuasion of potential clients.
Brands can also differentiate one firm from another, especially when other firms aren’t focused on building a brand. By building your brand, you are helping your clients see what differentiates you from the other clients (aka; persuading them to choose your firm, not theirs).
How can you build a brand?
This is the tricky part. While part of building the brand is how your firm presents itself, the bigger part is how your clients and other parties think and talk about you.
You can’t control what others say about you, well you might be able to sue them for defamation, but the damage may already be done. While you can’t control, you can influence them. This starts by setting standards on how your attorney’s and team talk to your clients, the way you deliver your legal services, and the type of content you put out into the market.
To put it simply, you must ensure that whenever a person who is not part of the firm interacts with your firm or firm’s content, they have a good experience. This is why it is a long-term strategy, is that it takes time to deliver good experiences to everyone. But that is a benefit to your firm because brands are dynamic and live. Your firm can quickly pivot directions and adapt as needed. However, remain as consistent as possible and don’t change your brand month after month.
How your website and brand connect
Your website should reflect your brand and build trust. This is where a good designer comes into play. If something looks good, if it feels good, then it must be good, right?
Apple turned this concept into an art form by offering good looking products such as the MacBooks or iPhones. But when you compare features of an iPhone to features of a Samsung, more often than not, the Samsung has more features. Where iPhone succeeds, is the design and experience of using the phone.
Too often legal websites are built around offerings and attorney’s and not built around the user and what is good for them. A good website takes your brand and your audience and marries the two together. This process creates a website that looks good but is also easy to use and navigate making it simple for your audience to find the information they are looking for.